More than 126,000 low-income women in Texas may be scrambling for new health-care options as a state ban on supporting clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood takes effect Nov. 1, according to Bloomberg.
The law, adopted earlier this year and upheld in August by a federal appeals court, bars state contracts with facilities that have any ties to groups that provide abortions. Many such clinics across Texas offer primarily low-income clients non-abortion services, such as contraceptives and screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
The state is forgoing some $30-million in Medicaid funds for its Women’s Health Program because under U.S. government rules any federally approved provider, including Planned Parenthood, is eligible for the funds. Instead Texas will spend $40-million of its own on the program, and state officials say there will be enough facilities to take in women who had previously used Planned Parenthood-linked clinics.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said the state has recruited about 500 new providers to meet demand. Planned Parenthood clinics currently serve about 43 percent of Women’s Health Program clients, but several such facilities have already closed or reduced hours since the state cut support for family-planning services last year.